Workplace injuries occur every day in industries across the nation, and are a life altering and jarring event for anyone experiencing them. When injured in the workplace, the immediate need is generally to get medical treatment, followed by compensation for time lost from work. Workers’ Compensation laws are in place to protect injured workers with benefits for medical costs and lost wages, and to ensure that treating their medical needs are not an unfair burden for something that happened in their place of employment.
But what if the injury is extensive, and was caused by someone’s negligence or a product defect? In those cases, a third-party liability claim can be brought by the injured worker to recover damages, particularly those that go beyond the financial compensation from the Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Workers’ Compensation, mandated by state and federal laws, provides coverage for an accident that occurs in the course of an employee’s regular work duties, or while at a company event or on a required work break. The program is designed to protect injured workers, and pays the costs of medical care and a percentage of the employee’s salary while they are unable to work. Workers’ Compensation also protects employers from being sued as well.
In the case of a workplace accident where a piece of equipment fails, and results in major or long-term injuries, for example, this coverage alone will be limited to specific benefits, not including the worker’s pain and suffering or punitive damages.
What A Third-Party Claim Involves
Reckless behavior or negligence on the part of another; or failed or defective equipment mean that another party – the third party – in addition to the employer are responsible. Industrial equipment, vehicles, safety tools, and many common products can all be defective and cause accidents when they fail.
If the equipment failed, was manufactured incorrectly, or has a design flaw that contributed to the accident, the injured worker may need to file a third-party claim. A third-party claim can potentially include the product manufacturer, distributor, or retailer.
Since Workers’ Compensation does not provide coverage for pain and suffering or punitive damages, if someone is hurt by a third-party, filing a liability claim can provide that coverage for pain and suffering or punitive damages.
Third-party cases mean that the parties are held legally responsible. They involve determination of how the product was manufactured, or negligence in how it was operated by a contractor or other party that was not the worker’s employer, or general negligence on the part of another. They require that the negligence or omission of duty be proved in court.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Fight for those Injured by a Third-Party
The Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC are lawyers with experience in recovering damages for workplace injuries and third-party liability cases. We represent clients from our offices in Wilmington in Newark, Dover, Middletown and across Delaware. Please contact us for an initial consultation at 302-888-1221 or complete our online form.